Let’s talk about your wedding guest list, wedding budget & how the two correlate. When you start to actually consider all of the areas of a wedding that the number of guests directly affect (i.e. venue capacity, catering numbers, bar setup, cake size, chairs rented, guest gifts, hotel blocks, invitations, number of table settings and centerpieces), it will make sense on how your list is directly tied to your budget. On average, each guest added to your guest list will cost a MINIMUM of $100/person!
And couples are often surprised by the drama that comes with creating a guest list. Parents have their own lists (sometimes with people you don’t even know), friends are accidentally overlooked, out of state family who probably can’t make it but will be offended if they don’t receive an invite…..the list goes on and on – literally!
We know that cutting guests is easier said than done. Here are a few ways to make the process more bearable:
1. Begin with a list of must-have people. This set of guests are not obligatory, but people you will genuinely be upset if they can not share in your celebration. This should be the core of your guest list – the ones on the dance floor with you that stay to the end to shower you in confetti during your exit.
2. Give each set of parental units a set number of guests they can invite. Operating under the assumption that their list will include individuals that you are not particularly close to, give them a hard limit. If they push you on a guest, suggest they re-evaluate to substitute that person for one of their previously listed guests. Or better yet, have them contribute $100 per extra guest (depending on your budget situation).
3. Review your list and ask yourselves these questions: “When was the last time I spoke to this person face to face? Are we just friends on social media? Can I go a month without communicating with this person? If I went through the entire wedding day and did not speak to them, would I be disappointed? You know who to cut from there.
4. Having family and friends host showers for you is a great way to include guests that can’t make it to the wedding. This is perfect for out of town family. If you are having a smaller wedding, showers can serve several groups of people and you receive quality time with friends.
5. You can always deflect the issue by blaming the guest list size on the venue. Apologizing to uninvited guests who are hurt is easy when you can blame the size of the venue on that lack of invitation.
Hurt feelings and awkward situations will arise for people left off the list. Here is the straight up, harsh truth: a genuine, kind person would understand and would never add guilt to the joy of your day.
In the end, it is YOUR wedding and the decisions to be made during planning are yours to make. It is your budget to allocate to create the perfect day. Limiting the guest count is a great way to dramatically affect that budget, allowing you the flexibility to go above and beyond in other areas. (And it could be the difference between Filet Mignon and steak fingers!) So when your future mother-in-law wants to add her bridge club to the guest list, remember the $100/guest rule and the gorgeous centerpieces you’ve been dreaming of!
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